Nespresso machines have become increasingly popular in recent years for their convenience and ability to brew delicious espresso-based drinks with the simple touch of a button. But with so many Nespresso models available, it can be tough to determine which machine best suits your needs.
This comprehensive Nespresso machine review covers everything you need to know about Nespresso, from how the system works to detailed comparisons of some of the most popular Nespresso models. Read on to learn which Nespresso machine will deliver the perfect at-home espresso experience for you.
How Nespresso Works
Nespresso is a capsule-based system created by Nestlé. Nespresso machines brew espresso and coffee drinks by injecting hot water at high pressure through small aluminum capsules filled with ground coffee. This extraction method efficiently produces a rich, aromatic crema layer—the hallmark of a quality espresso.
There are a few key components that make up the Nespresso system:
- The Nespresso machine – Compact brewers that heat water and pump it through the capsule to produce coffee or espresso.
- Nespresso capsules – Hermetically sealed, single-use capsules containing ground coffee. Each capsule contains the precise amount of ground coffee needed to brew one shot of espresso or coffee.
- The Nespresso Club – Nespresso’s capsule subscription program through which members can order Nespresso capsules. Most machines come with a welcome kit containing sample capsules.
Nespresso capsules come in a wide range of blends and aromas to suit any taste. But the convenience of the pods comes at a price—Nespresso capsules generally cost $0.70-$1.00 per capsule.
Below we cover the major pros and cons of the Nespresso system to consider before purchasing a Nespresso machine.
Pros of Nespresso Machines:
- Delivers quality, consistent results with minimal effort
- Fast and efficient brewing
- Compact footprint—great for small kitchens
- Automatic capsule ejection and used capsule storage
- Wide variety of espresso and coffee blends from Nespresso
- Most models have fast heat-up times of 15-25 seconds
Cons of Nespresso Machines:
- Capsules are expensive compared to ground coffee
- Generates plastic waste from used capsules
- Limited ability to customize beverage options
- Must order capsules from Nespresso
- No control over grind size or brewing parameters
Now that you understand the Nespresso system, let’s dive into specific Nespresso machine models and how they compare.
Best Nespresso Machines
Nespresso manufacturers three styles of machines:
- OriginalLine – Brews only espresso and ristretto.
- VertuoLine – Brews coffee and espresso. Uses a unique centrifugation technology for coffee.
- ProLine – Commercial-grade machines for offices and restaurants.
Within these lines, some popular home Nespresso models include:
- Essenza Mini
- VertuoPlus Deluxe
- Vertuo Next
Below we examine the key features and performance of these popular home Nespresso machines to identify the best options available.
Nespresso OriginalLine Machines
The Essenza Mini is Nespresso’s most affordable and compact OriginalLine model.
- Ultra compact: just 4.3 inches wide
- Fast 25 second heat up time
- Used capsule container capacity: 6-10 capsules
- Simple one-touch operation with two programmable espresso sizes (1.35 oz and 3.7 oz)
- Folding drip tray to accommodate larger travel mugs
- Available in white, black, red, pale blue, and gray
- $149 MSRP ($139 on sale often)
Performance & Brew Quality:
The Essenza Mini delivers the full-pressure 19 bar Nespresso brewing experience in a tiny package. The thermoblock heating system and fast heat-up ensure consistently hot temperatures needed for quality espresso extraction.
The small used capsule capacity may require frequent emptying for heavy use. But overall the Essenza Mini brews delicious, aromatic espresso on par with higher priced OriginalLine models.
The Essenza Mini is the best budget option for anyone seeking an ultra compact Nespresso machine that doesn’t compromise on espresso quality. It’s perfect for use in small kitchens, apartments, offices, dorm rooms, or travel.
The Pixie is a slim automatic model that slots in below the CitiZ&Milk in the OriginalLine.
- Sleek, compact design with folded sheet metal construction
- 24 ounce removable water tank
- Used capsule capacity: 10
- Programmable espresso and lungo buttons for 1.35 oz and 3.7 oz pours
- Folding drip tray accommodates taller glasses
- Electric plug extends from back of machine for space saving
- $280 MSRP ($200 average sale price)
- Available in six colors – Electric Titan, Carmine Red, Steel, Matt Black, Aluminum, and Glacial Blue
Performance & Brew Quality
The Pixie heats up in less than 30 seconds for excellent energy efficiency. It delivers 19 bars of pressure and precise temperature control for rich, aromatic espresso with a thick crema. The electric cord extension is convenient for squeezing the machine against your backsplash to save precious counter space.
The stylish, compact Pixie brews amazing espresso on par with the CitiZ&Milk but in a smaller footprint and at a more affordable price point. It’s an excellent choice for espresso lovers with limited kitchen space.
The CitiZ&Milk adds a built-in milk frother to the OriginalLine.
- Built-in foldable milk frother with auto-cleaning cycle
- Fast heat up time of 25 seconds
- 34 oz removable water tank
- Used capsule drawer capacity: 10-11 capsules
- Adjustable cup tray height
- Programmable Ristretto (0.7 oz), Espresso (1.35 oz), and Lungo (3.7 oz)
- $300 MSRP ($200 average sale price)
Performance & Brew Quality
Like other OriginalLine models, the CitiZ&Milk leverages 19 bars of pressure and precise temperature control to produce rich, aromatic espresso topped with a thick, hazelnut-colored crema.
The built-in milk steamer and frother prepares cappuccinos and lattes with little effort. Just pour milk into the frother, attach it to the machine, and select your preferred drink. The frother automatically heats and froths the milk to create that ideal microfoam texture before mixing it with the espresso.
The CitiZ&Milk eliminates the need for a separate milk frother, making it easy to achieve cafe-quality cappuccinos and lattes. It’s the ideal single-machine solution for milk-based coffee drinks.
The Expert is Nespresso’s high-end OriginalLine model designed for customization.
- Large removable 54 oz water tank
- Used capsule capacity: 19-22 capsules
- Adjustable cup tray and temperature
- Programmable Ristretto (0.4 oz up to 3.7 oz)
- $300 MSRP ($250 average sale price)
- Available in black or platinum
Performance & Brew Quality
With its precise temperature control and 19 bars of pressure, the Expert lives up to its name producing exceptional espresso. The large water tank reduces refilling frequency.
What sets the Expert apart is the ability to fully customize pour volumes and temperatures to your exact liking. You can fine tune both parameters to draw out specific flavors and characteristics from any Nespresso capsule blend.
The Expert provides the ultimate Nespresso brewing experience with its precision pressure extraction coupled with customizable volumes and temperatures. It’s ideal for espresso aficionados.
Nespresso VertuoLine Machines
VertuoLine is Nespresso’s capsule system designed for brewing both coffee and espresso. The VertuoLine uses larger capsules along with a unique centrifugation technology that spins the capsule up to 7,000 rotations per minute during brewing.
Let’s look at how three popular VertuoLine models compare.
The standard Vertuo machine is the entry point into Nespresso’s VertuoLine.
- Uses Centrifusion technology to deliver both coffee and espresso
- Heats up in 15 seconds with 40 oz water tank capacity
- Automatic capsule ejection
- Programmable cup sizes: espresso (1.35 oz), double espresso (2.7 oz), gran lungo (5 oz), coffee (7.7 oz)
- Moves and stores used capsules automatically
- $169 MSRP ($120 average sale price)
Performance & Brew Quality
The Vertuo brews espresso and coffee with good crema and aromatics. The Centrifusion extraction along with barcode reading of each capsule helps optimize the brewing parameters including the all-important brew temperature.
One downside is the Vertuo only holds 15-20 used capsules, so heavy users will need to empty it frequently. But overall it performs well for the price as an entry level VertuoLine option.
The standard Vertuo machine offers the full VertuoLine experience on a budget. It’s a great choice for anyone seeking the convenience of brewing both coffee and espresso in a compact machine.
The VertuoPlus Deluxe adds several premium features over the base Vertuo model.
- Centrifusion brewing delivers coffee and espresso
- Heats up in 20 seconds with 60 oz water tank capacity
- Automatic capsule ejection and used capsule storage (capacity of 17 capsules)
- Programmable espresso (1.35 oz), double espresso (2.7 oz), gran lungo (5 oz), coffee (7.7 oz and 14 oz)
- Removable water tank for easy filling
- $209 MSRP ($170 average sale price)
Performance & Brew Quality
With the same Centrifusion brewing technology as the Vertuo, the VertuoPlus Deluxe matches on coffee and espresso quality and aromatics. The larger 60 oz water tank reduces refilling frequency for heavy use.
It trumps the Vertuo in features with the expanded used capsule capacity to 17, plus the removable tank for easier filling. This makes it better suited for high volume use.
The VertuoPlus Deluxe is the best VertuoLine model for heavier daily use thanks to enhancements like the larger water tank and used capsule capacity. It’s the ideal balance of features and affordability in the VertuoLine.
The Vertuo Next is Nespresso’s premium VertuoLine model with a sleek, modern design.
- Centrifusion brewing for coffee and espresso
- Heats up in 20 seconds with 37 oz water tank capacity
- Used capsule container capacity: 13 capsules
- Bluetooth connectivity, unlocking additional customized cup sizes when synced to app
- Removable water tank with integrated handle
- $169 MSRP ($140 average sale price)
Performance & Brew Quality
With the same Centrifusion brewing process as other Vertuo machines, the Next also produces aromatic espresso and coffee topped with a rich, amber crema.
The Next is lighter and more compact than earlier Vertuo models. But the smaller used capsule container may require frequent emptying with heavy use.
One unique element is the Bluetooth connectivity and associated app, allowing you to fully customize brew sizes. But for most people, this doesn’t provide significant added benefit over the standard programmable sizes.
The Vertuo Next offers a more contemporary, compact design but not dramatically improved performance versus other VertuoLine models. However the app-connected features are nice for those who enjoy customizing their brewing.
Key Buying Considerations for Nespresso Machines
With an overview of Nespresso’s lineups and popular models, let’s summarize the key factors to consider when choosing your Nespresso machine:
- Budget – OriginalLine models start at $149 for the Essenza Mini. VertuoLine starts at $120 for a basic Vertuo. Plan to spend $150-$300 for most midrange models.
- Espresso vs. coffee – OriginalLine makes just espresso, while VertuoLine brews coffee and espresso.
- Milk-based drinks – If you’ll prepare lattes or cappuccinos, choose a model with a built-in frother like the CitiZ&Milk.
- Usage Volume – Consider water tank and used capsule capacity. Larger is better for heavy use.
- Customization – Machines like the Expert and Vertuo Next allow customization via settings and smartphone app.
- Counter Space – Measure to find a machine that will fit. Models like Pixie and Essenza Mini have small footprints.
Taking these factors into account will help you select the perfect Nespresso machine tailored to your habits, tastes, and kitchen space.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Nespresso Machines
What are the main differences between Nespresso’s OriginalLine and VertuoLine?
The main differences are:
- Beverages – OriginalLine makes just espresso and ristretto. VertuoLine makes espresso plus coffee.
- Capsules – They use different sized capsules. OriginalLine takes smaller capsules.
- Brewing – OriginalLine uses 19 bars of pressure. VertuoLine uses centrifugation spin technology.
- Crema – Both make crema but VertuoLine tends to make thicker, richer crema.
So in summary, OriginalLine is for espresso purists while VertuoLine offers more beverage variety for coffee lovers who also want espresso.
Does Nespresso make “real” espresso?
Yes, Nespresso makes authentic espresso. The term “espresso” means coffee brewed under pressure. Nespresso machines use pressure extraction ranging from 15-19 bars, which is the standard for commercial espresso machines. This pressure, coupled with precise temperature control, allows Nespresso machines to produce rich, aromatic crema – a hallmark of true espresso.
The convenience of capsules means you sacrifice some freshness compared to grinding whole beans. But Nespresso’s hermetically sealed capsules maintain aromatics and prevent oxygen exposure. So you can still achieve café-quality espresso at home.
Are Nespresso machines worth the cost given the expensive pods?
Nespresso machines are generally worth the investment despite the higher cost of the coffee pods. Convenience and consistency are the biggest advantages of the Nespresso system. You get a cafe-quality shot of espresso or coffee with the push of a button, no matter your brewing skills. No grinding, dosing, tamping, programming, or clean up.
When factoring the machine cost, compare it on a per beverage basis to what you spend at coffee shops. A $200 machine that lasts 3+ years making daily coffee is a fraction of the cost of buying it every time. While not cheap, Nespressos cost per cup is reasonable for the quality and convenience.
What is the best environmentally friendly option for Nespresso capsules?
The best eco-friendly option for Nespresso capsules is to recycle them. Nespresso provides free recycling bags and collection services to return used capsules to be recycled properly. This recovers aluminum and coffee grounds.
Alternatively, some choose to empty and reuse capsules, buying reusable capsules to refill. This saves some waste but sacrifices freshness.
Third party compostable capsules are available but may not work as well in Nespresso machines. Check for compatibility before using third party capsules.
Are Nespresso machines easy to use and maintain?
Yes, Nespresso machines are very easy to use and maintain. Brewing is nearly automatic – just insert a capsule, close the lever, and press a button for the desired size. Maintenance is also straightforward: emptying the used capsule container when full, rinsing out the water tank periodically, and descaling every 3-6 months. Nespresso provides detailed cleaning instructions with each machine.
Nespresso’s simplicity and minimal maintenance requirements are a big part of their appeal for anyone who wants great coffee with no fuss. Even first time users can whip up quality espresso and coffee drinks with ease.
The Verdict: Should You Buy a Nespresso Machine?
So should you buy a Nespresso machine? If you value the convenience of brewing quality espresso and coffee drinks at home with minimal effort, Nespresso is an excellent choice. The capsule system makes it possible for anyone to prepare consistent, cafe-quality drinks – no barista skills required.
Plus with the wide range of OriginalLine and VertuoLine models, there’s a Nespresso machine suited for any budget or kitchen size. If
To recap, key reasons to choose Nespresso include:
- No guesswork or skills needed – Easy, consistent results every time
- Fast preparation with minimal mess
- Quality crema and aromatics rivaling specialty cafes
- Compact footprint – great for small kitchens
- Milk frothers on models like CitiZ&Milk simplify making lattes and cappuccinos
- Zero learning curve – perfect for brewing novices and busy families
- VertuoLine offers the convenience of both coffee and espresso
The only downsides of Nespresso are the higher cost of capsules compared to ground coffee, and the plastic waste generated from the used pods. However, Nespresso does offer recycling programs to help offset waste.
Overall Nespresso machines deliver an immense amount of value for those seeking an effortless at-home coffee experience. With the right model suited to your needs, a Nespresso machine is guaranteed to elevate your daily coffee routine.